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Lower Pine Springs Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

12/31/12

Party Animal


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas
HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. Please make 2013 a very safe and fun year. That party animal, the OFM, is planning a big celebration of the New Year by having TWO cups of hot tea before going to bed.  The OFM Teams will be doing everything they can to entertain, inform and generally help you nod off while reading the blog. Of importance is that this year starts with the Teams rolling contraflow the morning of the first day of the New Year. While the bulk of the RV traffic is working its way south, the OFM Teams will head north in the morning.

This year the only known plan is to be back in north Alabama for grandson Gavin’s first birthday. That plan is so firm that an act of congress cannot change it. Take that you worthless politicians. From the quality I see in the White House, Senate and House of Reps, Gavin is going to have a tough row to hoe when he gets older.

Meanwhile on a morning walk a couple of interesting items were seen. Actually a lot more than two but only a couple will be shown tonight. The footing was a large area of sandstone outcropping. That was normal for the area and lots of sandstone outcroppings decorate the area. What caught the OFM’s attention was a very round deformation in the sandstone.

The white rock around the “hole” was softer and less dense than the sandstone.  Other places in the sandstone had the white stuff in thin layers running through the outcroppings. The Teams looked around an area of a quarter acre or so and did not find any more round “holes”. The center fill of the “hole” seemed to be more sandstone. It was definitely unique for the area.

Another thing that caught the Meandering Teams attention was the large amount of freshly chomped prickly pear cactus in the campground area. Apparently the javelina the OFM stirred up have been out dining nearby. Here is one well chomped leaf of cactus.

On another leaf nearby was a frontal assault on the leaf. The red arrow is pointing to where it appears to be two teeth marks. It does take a very tough mouth to handle those very strong and sharp stickers on the prickly pear leaves (or pads).

Medical Report

The arm is progressing well and full recovery is expected within a few weeks.

Now it is time for some hot tea and beauty rest so the Teams will be ready for new attempts at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

 

12/30/12

Cut It Off


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas

It was time to chop it off. For years the cord on a drop light has had several coils of the wire tied to make the entire unit shorter. The 25 foot cord on the drop light was way too long for the Team’s needs. Today the OFM finally turned his brain on and decided to shorten the cord. It was an easy procedure (of course it was if he could do it) and only took about fifteen minutes. Now the cord is about seven feet long and much more usable inside the Castle. In colder weather it is hung in the bedroom as a heater as well as inside illumination. Here it is in the new slim trim style.


The excess cord was taken to my local drop off station known as Billy Bob’s campsite. He really likes to have lots of spare stuff for Sally his elegant motorhome to carry.

During one of the Teams meanders today we found evidence of severe rain for this area.  Any rain is considered severe if it gets to the ground around here.

Those little droplets impressions were not there yesterday.  The weather forecast even predicts some rain tonight and tomorrow. I will have to see it to believe it myself.

The lake continues to rise. The flooded spot shown in yesterday’s blog is a bit deeper and larger today. In fact a couple of shorebirds were wading in the road feeding on critters.

They were very skittish and would fly off before the OFM got anywhere close to them.

In this same lake bottom area is a bush that has pretty pink flowers. The color is very delicate and difficult to photograph. We did finally get this one shot that came out fairly well. If anyone can identify it, we would appreciate knowing the “breed” of the bush.

The arm is still getting better. Several more days of pills remain but the arm can be set down on the table without pain now. That is a wonderful improvement.  No arm pain makes it a lot easier to get out and try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/29/12

Skin Pile


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park and Roma TX, Falcon Heights, Texas


The arm infection war continues but the tide of the battle has moved on to the good side. My arm is very much better but not healed totally. That goal may be a few days off. Cellulitis is a very serious but very easily defeated type of infection. As the OFM mentioned before, early treatment is extremely important.

A trip to get groceries was made today. The grocery in Roma is very ethnic in many ways and generally high priced but still cheaper than driving another eighteen miles to a Wal-Mart. However the quality of the vegetables and other products was very high. As the Teams explored Roma a bit, it became obvious that most of anything you might need is readily available there.  The town is under 10,000 in population and sits right on the border.

How close to the border you ask? Well check out this next picture  and at the end of the red arrow a block off the main street is the point of entry for crossing the border. That is how close it is to the border.

Since the pantry now had tortillas available and chicken breasts had been cooked, it was time for some great lunch.

Man that is some good eating. The best news is that there is plenty for another couple of meals without doing any more cooking.

You may recall an episode of hide and seek with a coyote a few days ago. Well due to the lake level rising that would not happen now. The road that the OFM was walking down when the coyote was first spotted is under water. Yesterday evening the Truck was driven along this road. Now to drive on it would be a sinking experience.

The OFM is cringing in the corner because he knows the tale is about to be told. The Walking and Meandering Team led by none other than the fearless OFM was meandering around this afternoon. The choice was made to go down a trail that leads to a lower section of the park. We made about a hundred yards down the trail. There is heavy brush on both sides of the trail. We were about twenty feet from some very think growth just minding our own business when the brush exploded with javelinas going every which way.

TheOFM jumped clean out of his skin.  His skin looked rather funny lying in a pile on the trail. Let me tell you if you think he is ugly in his skin, you really do not want to see him without his skin--- Double Yuk. Meanwhile the javelinas had regrouped very nearby and were trying to make up their mind what to do. The OFM was doing his very best to slip back into his skin. He claimed he had not been startled that badly since Viet Nam.

The situation was carefully surveyed. It was determined that there were javelinas very close by on three sides of us. So once the OFM got his skin on we eased v e r y c a r e f u l l y back up the trail. No human in their right mind will every voluntarily mingle with a pack of javelina. They will turn you into fajita strips of meat in an instant.

We returned to the road safely and were very glad to do so. Were we in imminent danger at that moment? Probably not but pushing on toward the pack would not have been a wise move either. The javelinas are used to folks being in the park so the Teams presence probably did not bother them too much. However the Teams have seen the results of pushing a pack by Great Dane dog. We do not intend to ever push a pack of javelina.

As we exited the trail a cactus with its Christmas ornaments still on display was noticed. The picture does not really capture the brilliance of the red. It was almost glowing.

Unless somebody can convince us otherwise, playing with javelina will never be part of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

 

12/28/12

The War Is Under Way


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas


War, and a very significant one, is being waged inside the OFM’s body to hear him tell of it. The bacteria and the antibiotics are getting it on hot and heavy. His body is shifting from feels decent to horrible and all stages in between during every six hour session. His pills are every six hours. But the side effects of the drug are worth the misery to get rid of the infection.

This next picture was taken right after the Teams returned from the doctor yesterday.

The night before the elbow had been a little sore and a red spot about an inch in diameter was all that there was to see. Overnight it got a lot nastier as you can see. But the war is ongoing and the red is receding. We only have nine more days of war until the Teams ultimate victory.

During one of the feel good sessions the Walking Team went out for some exercise.  A walk along the developed trails was taken. This kept us out of most of the cold wind we were experiencing this morning. At one point the lake was in view and this picture of the miserable south Texas winter weather was taken. Looks really nasty doesn’t it??

The cold temps predicted for the next couple of nights is silly. They are talking about below forty degrees F.  Humans with wheels should not be suffering in weather like that. But without a passport the OFM is as far south as he can comfortably get.

Back on the trail was some evidence of a successful hunt by some critter. This bit of fur might have come from a rabbit that ran out of luck even with four rabbit’s feet.

The active time is getting better as the healing works its way toward complete recovery. Until then the adventures are likely to be small and mild as we are out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

 

12/27/12

Roma Doctor


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas

The OFM woke to a swollen right forearm. The little inflammation that had been in the elbow had become a conflagration of his forearm. This happened to his right arm years ago and he tried to fight it with home remedies. When the swelling got from his wrist to his biceps, he finally went to the doctor.  The education on cellulitis was dramatic. The doc at that time impressed on the OFM that this disease can be fatal if not treated in a timely fashion.

So this morning the OFM was very impressed with the minor looking amount of swelling and the need for proper treatment even out in Nowhere Ville, Texas. After a worthless search on the internet and the forearm getting hotter by the hour, TheOFM went to the ranger station to ask about “local” doctors. A recommendation for a certain doctor and facility was immediately offered. So off OFM Medical Search Team went. There would be NO meandering on this trip for help. Here is the clinic in Roma, Texas.

Clinic triage lady took one glance at my arm and put me in line as a walk-in to see the doctor.  To my surprise EVERYONE including the folks in the waiting room was extremely friendly. It was a surprise to learn a new Hispanic South Texas custom. Whenever a new person walked into the waiting room from outside, the new person and most of the waiting room would greet each other with a big Buenos Dias. It is a wonderful custom.

After a two hour wait for the appointment folks to get their turn and my Medicare to be checked out, it was my time for treatment. The wonderful doctor was exceptionally personable. He agreed that it was cellulitis and prescribed some antibiotics for the troubled arm.

Next was the prescription. The doctor asked if I had a preference on pharmacy. Nope I knew nothing about Roma. He suggested the pharmacy across the parking lot and guaranteed it was competitively priced with the others in town. THEN he sent the prescription directly to them from his laptop he carried around. WOW what service.  Everyone continued to be wonderful and my cost at check-out was $20.

The pharmacy across the parking lot was only about fifty feet away and very convenient.

Inside was several folks behind the counter and very eager to help. The owner was already on her computer printing out the legal papers to sign to get my prescription. One again EVERYONE in the building was extremely nice including two 5+/- year old children. The OFM was once again astounded at the quality of the service. The cost here was $22. Then away the Teams went to the Castle.  The medicine has been started and is a ten day treatment.

When we returned to the State Park, there was a sign on the bulletin board we had not noticed before.

Great now we might get a chance at a bear picture after missing the mountain lion picture in Bibe a couple of weeks ago. Nothing like bears and mountain lions to help in the effort of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM

12/26/12

Plan ZZZZ


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas

The Teams woke to a frozen countryside. It was 40° outside and nothing was moving because it was all frozen stiff. Somebody forgot that those temps are not allowed down here. Temps like that are for cleaning inside the warm Castle. The vacuum was retrieved and 649 pounds of Falcon County Park dirt, stickers and grass were removed from the Castle. The tires look like they got another 50 pounds of air put in them now.

Then the trouble hit. All the hiking plans shattered. Blindness associated with another migraine attack hit. Assume the horizontal for some time became the plan. Then up to eat lunch. Bam another session of blindness hits. Good grief.

BillyBob dropped by for a visit but the OFM was not good company. He hurt too much. BB understood but the short visit was well appreciated by the OFM. The OFM headed back for the horizontal and some pain relief.

The Teams hope all their readers did get out and try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/25/12

Hide And Seek


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas

Late yesterday a migraine hit with a vengeance and the Ofm had to leave BillyBobs tree patio and get horizontal. The headache is following the usual pattern and will be gone in another day. Which brings us to this morning. The OFM was headed for Del Rio first thing this morning. Notice the “was”. When he got to moving around, the head proved to not have healed enough to be running the roads. Then a check of the weather guesser’s internet site showed Del Rio had moved down to a light freeze. All that together was too much so the Teams moved four miles to Falcon State Park and signed up for a week.

Here is a picture of my Christmas present from my son and his family. It is a year of grandkid and miscellaneous other folks.
Wonderful Calendar

When the OFM opened that present he got so excited that his jumping and hollering moved the Castle sideways over four feet.

Our new campsite has this for the yard away from the road. It is very pleasant to the OFM Teams. We settled in quickly.

After a bit of rest from the setting up of the Castle, the OFM decided that the Meandering Team needed to get to work. WOW did it turn out to be fun. First was the short walk over to the boat ramp and then down the hill to the water. That is about a forty foot drop. Then we meandered the shoreline looking for treasure and there was treasure.

More importantly was this stretch of water calling for the OFM to don his hip waders and get busy catching fish.

Several different types of fish splashes were seen in this stretch of water. “Soon” was the promise given to the fish.

As the Team started back toward the hill, movement was noticed in the brush along the lake. Closer observation spotted a female coyote looking at us.

For the next twenty minutes the coyote and the OFM were playing hide and seek. One of the many excellent things the Army Infantry schools taught the OFM was how to sneak around and not be noticed. The coyote and the OFM both knew they were up against a master at the art of sneaking. This was great fun. The coyote would disappear into the brush and the OFM would change position to intercept the coyote.

This game kept on for several minutes. Finally the OFM positioned himself near an area of less brush and waited to catch the coyote coming out to cross the opening. Six pictures were taken and that darned coyote managed to get a piece of brush in the way for every shot taken. Here is the least messed up shot of them all.

The coyote seemed to know when the game was over and paused in the brush for one last look back at the OFM. Thank you for the fun Ms. Coyote.

OH and remember the loot.  Two fishing lures, a quarter coin and a ball point pen was the haul for today.

By now it was time to get back to the Castle and fix some lunch. There is still fish to catch, golf to play, SightSeer to ride and lots of trails to explore. That gives lots of options for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/24/12

County Park, Zapata, Texas


Adventure Location: County Park, Zapata, Texas

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE       

The OFM made a mistake and awoke as the sun came up. So the camera was grabbed an a few pictures of the sunrise were attempted. It seemed like TheOFM had trouble functioning that early in the morning. However the sun shone for a few minutes then clouds moved in to stop the solar panels from generating electricity. It was pretty while it lasted.

With all the over cast the Teams voted to go to Zapata, Texas and explore the town. It turned out to be worthwhile.

Over at the county boat ramp was a surprise waiting for the Meandering Team. Hidden in the brush is a very nice picnic area complete with neat kid areas. In this area are the slide and some other toys. Shaded picnic tables are very nearby.

In another section of the picnic were these toys for kids. The climbing wall was neat. Yep the OFM actually climbed the wall. It is not very high and the surface below is well padded. The OFM had never had this experience before and it was fun. He has climbed naturally occurring walls in several states but never before a manufactured wall.  The manufactured wall was definitely a lot safer.

Up on top of the small hill nearby is the pavilion where the fishing tournaments do their fish weighing and measuring. Then the awards ceremonies take place here also.  It is a nice and large facility with some welded metal table to accommodate the equipment required for a tournament weigh-in.

Of course the Meandering Team had not walked enough yet so it was off down the hill toward the lake. The “road” is just a rough as the ones back at Falcon State Park in last night’s blog. At the bottom was a long cliff. The water was lapping gently at the rocks of the cliff. The water appeared to be fairly deep. Some fish were also on the prowl doing fishy things.

It might be a good place for some bank fishing while you are out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/23/12

More Sun Needed


Adventure Location: Falcon County Park, Falcon Heights, Texas

BillyBob was having solar panel shading trouble so we took a meander around the County Park to check out better sites for his motorhome Sally.

During the meandering the OFM noticed a mesquite tree that had a lot darker trunk than the others. On closer examination the darkness was due to sap leakage down the trunk. Remember the big drip of sap a few weeks ago out in Seminole Canyon State Park.  Well this was a lot more of the same but different sap leakage.  This sap is a lot darker.

When the searching was all over a decision was made by BB to just move Sally to the other side of the trees. Here is Sally moving to her new hoome location. That way he gets to keep his tree shaded patio for lounging the days away.  It worked out very well.

The OFM got a wild hair and unloaded SightSeer, his bicycle, from the back of the Truck. It is time for some riding.  Both tires needed air as is normal on good tires and tubes. Both are ridden at 65psi to be able to well carry the excessive bulk of the OFM.

The route was out of the County Park and take two left turns. Follow the road to the State Park.  Then we made one circuit of all the paved roads in the State Park. The roads are not flat at all or anywhere. When we returned to the County Park, Sightseer wanted a group picture of the current team members. Since we did not want to break the camera the OFM just did the picture taking instead of getting into the picture. The total miles riden was only 9.6.

Team Picture
The “plan” is to hit the lake fishing as the first part of tomorrow’s endeavor at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

 

12/22/12

High Clearance


Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas

The Castle systems passed the cold night test very well. The furnace was used three times. The usual lighting was used.  By noon the batts were back to full charge. Looks like the systems including the OFM are all ready for some colder weather adventuring.

There were two worthwhile deeds done today. The absolutely most incredible was the OFM actually hand washing the Truck with a rag and bucket of water. He must have been very bored.

The other neat adventure was searching the lake shore for fishing locations. We were successful for a change. No fishing was done, only locating places and “roads” to get down to the lake.

Here is one of the “roads” that go along the bottom of the lake or what used to be the bottom. High clearance vehicles are a good idea when running around down here.

The Search Team took a roundabout way down to the shore line but we made it without damage to anything. In this next picture the Truck is parked on a point of land sticking into the lake. The red arrow points to the rocks where the OFM and BillyBob sat last spring and caught nice fish. As you can see there is a lot of water missing from the lake.

The OFM went walking along the shoreline. He followed it in and out of small coves. The occasional deep mud was also avoided. At one point he came out of the brush and took this next picture to show the typical South Texas Winter weather. It was 78°, bright sun, cool breeze and very few bugs. It is hoped that those readers farther north find this picture inviting.

All over the shore are what appear to be oyster shells. This did used to be the ocean floor so maybe they are left over from that era.

A bigger surprise showed up in front of the Meandering Team. Under a ledge at the water line was jelly fish bodies or at least that was our first thought.

This was a new event to the OFM for sure.  When he poked the jelly fish with a stick, it proved to be solid rock!!!!  This next picture was taken from over the top of the rock.  Those suckers just do not look like rock to us.

Naturally we had to look around a bit. Sure enough, close by was where some more of the crystal had surfaced. Some of it was broken. The reflections were very brilliant.

Maybe we found a layer of diamonds. What do you think???

The Meander back to the Truck was nice and gentle.  We did spot several locations where it looked like fish might be waiting to grab our lures. Some places were with shrubs sticking out of the water. Other places appeared to be ledges under water that might have bass hanging our around them. Tomorrow is supposed to be 81° for the high. At least it will be comfortable while the Teams are out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

 

 

12/21/12

Falcon County Park


Adventure Location: Falcon Heights, Texas

The rolling of the Teams started a little before 0800 this morning and finished rolling right at noon.  The roads are mostly very good on the route the OFM chose. Here is what the entrance to the free camping with water looks like.

It is a good size piece of property with water faucets sticking out of the ground every now and then. You drive around and pick a spot to set up, and then set up. Now it is yours until you move. There are some who have been here since last spring. At the far back of the property is a “bath house” of disrepair. It does have warm water in the shower and one open style toilet. There is no dump station on premises.

The Teams grabbed a location near the front of the Park across the “street” from BillyBob. Here is our home for until it is not our home. First indications are that we are too close to the road going to Mexico. The road noise is more than the OFM prefers.

This is the view of our front yard. At least until other campers show up and set up. The cell service is good and the Sprint aircard works very well.

During a walk around the property this watering hole was noticed. Notice the congregation of honey bees. This is wild country with javelina, deer, feral hogs, all sorts of snakes and lots of birds. It would not surprise me to see a mountain lion in the area either.

On the side of the park toward the dam is the Federal housing for the dam workers. The park and the Feds share a common fence line. There complex is rather large.

We are here until we aren’t. It is a run of around thirty miles to a significant grocery store. A couple of blocks away from the park is a small local store the Teams have not examined yet. It is in decent walking distance and definitely an easy bike ride. The closest diesel is about three miles away and somewhat high priced but at least it is available. The cost of camping here fairly well overrides the other nuisances.

One thing that takes a bit getting used to is the gunfire. Already today twice the Teams have heard the sound of shots fired in the town. However being a very small rural town with country type housing with chickens etc. you need to expect that the citizens have to handle intruder critters like coyotes or foxes immediately when discovered in the hen house.

Now all we need to do is get rested for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/20/12

Oh Boy Chocolate Cake


Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The Teams are still in the waiting mode. However the mail got here a bit after noon so the waiting mode is for Friday morning rolling. The OFM does not like to drive into darkness. His preference is to roll first thing in the morning and have time for changing a flat and still get to the next destination in the daylight. So this afternoon will be spent getting the last of the hookups done so we can roll as soon as we can get the OFM out of bed and moving.

If you check on BillyBob you will see a new header picture of the goal area. Here is the target of tomorrow’s travels.


And now for a grandson picture titled 

                                        Oh boy chocolate cake!!!

Christmas weekend is upon us, so everyone safely get out and try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/19/12

Just Waiting


Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Now the Teams are in the waiting mode. When the furnace was still scheduled for repair on Friday, the OFM’s mail was scheduled for delivery by Thursday of this week. The happy change of the furnace deciding to work left the Teams just waiting for the mail. When it gets here we will be ready to roll shortly after the mail delivery.

If you check on BillyBob you will see a new header picture of the goal area. He made it all the way there today in spite of some misadventures while driving. He is getting a head start on trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/18/12

Stovetop Burner Question


Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The labels that say to not use the stove top burners for comfort heating have always amused the OFM. The OFM needs an explanation. Why is comfort heating with a certain size flame on a certain burner going to kill him but if he puts a pot of beans to cooking on the same size flame on the same burner for the same amount of time it is ok. Do the beans or other food absorb something to make the air safe? Is the food then unsafe? What happened to the bad stuff that was going to kill him? Hmmm interesting! Those are some really smart burners to be able to tell if cooking is going on instead of comfort heating.

Morning arrived with chores to do. An important chore is to uncover the duct vents in the floor of the Castle. For several years now the OFM has used “throw rugs” from Wal-Mart for keeping his bare feet from feeling the cold floor vinyl. While the furnace is not being used, the floor vents are covered and that keeps junk like small rocks and debris from falling into the duct work. But with the furnace coming out of retirement the ducts need to be free and clear of any obstructions. The major chore today was to get the ducts uncovered.

Here is the rug covering the duct in the bathroom.



The soft rubber backed rugs stay in place pretty well. They would likely get very soft with the furnace trying to send hot air out the duct. Melted rubber is not a wonderful fragrance for living quarters. The solution chosen was to cut openings in the rugs to let the hot air pass the rug. This was actually done in the past in the first Arctic Fox trailer the Teams had up in Washington State. It works very well we found out.

Crawling around on hands and knees is the only way the OFM could get down to mark the vent. He feels around the raised vent cover that is under the rug.  Then moves out a nice amount and marks the cutting line with a marking pen. That is the easy part.

The rug was lifted clear of the floor and the cutting began. On this first one, a pair of cheap scissors was used.  It was hard work. These rugs are tough. 

For the next three holes we found that a sharp utility knife worked much better and gave a much better cut line on the rug. The rug was given a trial fit and nay corrections were done at this time.

Then the edges of the rug cuts were sealed with a flame from this igniter.  Slowly moving the flame along the edge of the cut line melted the fibers to the base mat.  Now the rug will not be unraveling. It is possible to hold too long in one spot and set the rug on fire. However it puts out with a nice blow of your breath. DO NOT PRESS ON THE HOT PLASTIC TO PUT THE FIRE OUT. YOU WILL GLUE YOUR FINGERS TO THE RUG WITH VERY HOT PLASTIC. No the OFM did not do that (this time).

After all this work the furnace is now ready for the repair man on Friday. But it was not to be. After some fishing at the waterfront, the Fishing Team returned the OFM to the Castle for some rest. He got to thinking that the furnace should be tried so that he could tell the repairman exactly what is happening when the furnace is starting. Good idea was the Teams consensus.

The thermostat was set to heat and the setting was raised to 85 to force the furnace to cycle and give us its clues.  WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL. The furnace fired up like it is supposed to fire up. Everything went exactly perfect.  What is going on???  To cut to the chase, we waited a half hour and tried again. Same result, perfection. Another hour wait, same result. So the appointment for Friday was cancelled. It is hard to get a repair on an item that is not broken. It must be leprechauns hiding in the furnace. Anyway now as soon as the mail from the Escapees mail service arrives the Teams can be rolling.

Having a working furnace certainly gives the Teams a lot more choices in where we go for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/17/12

New Adventures Preparation


Adventure Location: Texas

The next modification to Comfort Castle has begun. First some background is needed. Additionally this may be a multipart coverage on an experiment of the change of philosophy for heating the rig. All of this is opinion as I have never seen any scientific analysis at all on the subject.

There are only three ways of heating most RVs.

A.  Use open flame heaters or catalytic heaters

B.  Use electric heaters

C.   Use the onboard furnace

A common idea that the OFM followed for several years is that the onboard furnace wasted too much heat. All you had to do was feel the furnace to see that it seemed true. Wild unsubstantiated numbers like 30 to 50 percent loss come up in the forums. It eats too much electricity with the fan motor. It is too noisy.

Electric heaters are nearly 100 per cent efficient but you have to substantial 120 volt power to use them.

The myth is open flame or catalytic heaters use no electric and are nearly 100 percent efficient. However you lose serious heat due to the venting required. Thus they are not 100 per cent efficient in my book. How inefficent are they is not known by the OFM.

In the last four years the Castle has not used the broken onboard furnace. The stove top and its CO free burners have provided the little heat needed for when the Teams did not have 120 volt available. The Castle’s wheels kept the Teams close to 120 volt hookups most of the time in cold weather. That is planned to change in 2013. We are planning on more boondocking in dry cold weather.

In the last couple of years the OFM has noticed several folks mentioning that the open flame and catalytic units put out gases that caused them sinus irritation. The Teams have not had a trouble with that. With the extremely tight Arctic Fox trailer water vapor condensation from the open flame heating has been a major problem. As long as the outside temps were in the upper forties, it was manageable.

Keep in mind that the open flame heating style requires venting for oxygen as well as moisture elimination. The venting for oxygen requirement is rather small but still noticeable.  However in the very recent trip to the desert in Big Bend NP it was noticed and agrees with some other folks experience in the better sealed RVs. 

The temperatures were in the low thirties to low twenties for several nights. The gas burner had to run at nearly the 5000 BTU level of flame to keep the Castle warmed to 68 degrees. The result was a lot of water vapor running off the walls, windows and damp upholstery.

All that water vapor required massive venting. The desert humidity was running about 25%. I hate to think what that would be like at Rockport with the 70% humidity typical at night. The OFM noted that the back window in the bath now had to be open about three inches and the roof vent on the other end of the Castle had to be open about the same amount. If either was trimmed down within an hour things started to get wet again. Keep in mind the Castle is a little less than 150 square feet inside so a little water vapor makes a big difference in percentage.

Now when it is 25 degrees outside and you have a low window open three inches and a high vent open three inches to stay dry, your heating efficiency does not work out as really great. Another couple of folks that we correspond with on occasion have noticed the same thing on their rigs. At least one of them has gone back to running a small open flame heater and furnace heat to supplement while boondocking in the winter. They told me that with their well-insulated rig the furnace does not run their batts down very much over night. The solar panels get them back to full by noon most days.  This is with outside temps in the twenties. The furnace does not cause added water vapor inside the RV unless it is cracked and then you have bigger trouble. MUCH BIGGER TROUBLE.

Another has told the OFM that all he ever runs is the onboard furnace and his solar keeps up just fine.  He gets about a month between propane fill-ups.

With all this in mind, a repair person is scheduled to be here on Friday to get the Castle’s furnace running again after all this time. It will be a new era for the Teams to be boondocking in the colder areas during the winter. Tomorrow night the blog should be about the interior modifications being done to get the furnace back on line.
Pleasant comments will be welcome, flamers will be extinguished.
Keeping warm is very important when the task is trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

12/16/12

Public Parks


Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The Bibe reports are now all finished. Wow the Teams miss that place. There is always a new place to search out there. Bibe is only one of the four large parks in that area. Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, and Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area are all huge parks in this area for the public to enjoy.

The four parks together are over 1,227,310 acres or more than 1917 square miles of playgrounds. That will be hard to search all of that in my lifetime remaining. To put it another way the parks together are larger than the state of Rhode Island. Now that is a lot of fun waiting to happen.

Back on the local scene a few fish are being caught. The red tide event last winter seems to have really set the fish catching back several notches this year. Here is our friend Mike with two of the legal but small trout recently caught.



The Teams did a bit of riding around this afternoon trying to get out of the dreary wet overcast weather. It was a partial success. A tree near a ball field looks like it might have lots of interesting stories to tell if we could understand its language.

Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day as BB and the OFM hit the golf course for the purpose of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.